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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  June 14, 2014 6:19pm-6:31pm EDT

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life. taking responsibility for being a great parent or mentor is a choice that we, as individuals, have to make. no government program can ever take the place of a parent's love. still, as a country, there are ways we can help support dads and moms who make that choice. that's why, earlier this week, we brought working dads from across america to the white house to talk about the challenges they face. and in a few weeks, i'll hold the first-ever white house working families summit. we've still got too many workplace policies that belong in the 1950s, and it's time to bring them up to date for today's families, where oftentimes, both parents are working. moms and dads deserve affordable child care, and time off to care for a sick parent or child without running into hardship.
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women deserve equal pay for equal work -- and at a time when more women are breadwinners for a family, that benefits men, too. and because no parent who works full-time should have to raise a family in poverty, it's time for congress to follow the lead of state after state, get on the bandwagon, and give america a raise. dads work hard. so our country should do what we can to make sure their hard work pays off -- to make sure life for them and their families is a little less stressful, and a little more secure, so they can be the dads their kids need them to be. because there's nothing more precious in life than the time we spend with our children. there's no better feeling than knowing that we can be there for them, and provide for them, and help give them every shot at success. let's make sure every dad who works hard and takes responsibility has the chance to know that feeling, not just on one sunday, but every day of the year. thanks everybody, happy father's day, and have a great weekend. >> hello. my name is tom coburn. as a physician and three-time cancer survivor, i know firsthand how frustrating the wait to see a doctor can be. the department of veterans affairs admitted this week that veterans must wait up to three months to get a doctor's appointment. these delays have been linked to
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unnecessary deaths and complications. this is unacceptable. it screams of government incompetency. but the problems at the va are far deeper than scheduling. getting to see a doctor, after all, does not guarantee quality care. just like the va is cooking the books to make wait times appear shorter, the department is also glossing over the growing number of hospitals with poor medical outcomes. in some locations, like boston and pittsburgh, va care is top notch. at others, such as at phoenix, it is very subpar. high death rates and complication rates are occurring at more and more va centers. and this information is not being shared with our veterans. i never served in the military, but like all americans, i have the wonderful benefit of living in a great country because of those who put on our uniform. it is unacceptable that the men and women who bravely fought for our freedom are losing their lives, not at the hands of terrorists or enemy combatants, but from neglect by the very government agency established to
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take care of them. ironically, the vets who fought for freedom are given the least amount of freedom over their own health care decisions. too many veterans who rely upon the va are stuck in a bureaucratic maze that limits their choice and does not provide the quality care that they deserve. if you are an injured combat veteran, you should be the first in line, not the last, and your access should be guaranteed to be the best possible care. there's a simple cure to achieve these goals -- make every hospital a va hospital. va hospitals serve an important and unique role but veterans should be allowed to choose where, when and from whom they receive treatment. if a va center is inconveniently located, veterans should be free to choose another doctor. this week the senate approved a bipartisan bill to empower veterans with the freedom they deserve. under this plan, veterans living over 40 miles away from va clinic would be able to receive their care somewhere closer if they so choose to do so. those who cannot receive a
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timely va appointment would automatically have the option to see another doctor outside of the va. bureaucrats would no longer override veterans' choices. the bill also holds va accountable by making it easier to fire anyone who falsifies or manipulates data and makes it much more transparent by requiring disclosure of medical outcomes. passage of this bill and new leadership at the va are just the first steps. congress cannot just hope the problems will now go away. the reason veterans' care has suffered for so long is that congress has failed to hold the va accountable. in the last four years, the senate veterans affairs committee has held just a handful of hearings touching on veterans' health. this committee's only responsibility is to ensure veterans are being taken care of and it has failed to do its job.
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the problems at the va have long been documented by government investigators who have warned of false wait times and poor management for years. but some in congress have been far more preoccupied with making new promises rather than fulfilling the promises already made. next week, i will be releasing an oversight report that exposes a culture within the va where vets are not always a priority and in which administrators manipulate both data and employees to give the appearance that all is well. employees who do the wrong thing are rewarded with bonuses and upstanding employees are often bullied and face retaliation. construction costs of medical centers run over budget and the facilities have fallen behind schedule and still lack sufficient medical personnel to provide appropriate care. va employees sometimes disappear from work for weeks at a time while veterans cannot get their phone calls answered or returned. doctors who stop taking patients
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just after lunch so they can leave work. and billions of dollars that could be better spent on health care are mismanaged and wasted. now that the senate has passed legislation to give veterans more health care freedom, congress must continue to do the work to improve the quality of the va and make it a more responsive, and accountable and efficient organization. and the president must nominate as secretary a capable, experienced leader who possesses the management skills, leadership ability and determination to correct the failings of the va, support the thousands of great va workers who are committed to serving our veterans and ensure timely quality care to all of those who have served bravely. the president also needs to use the tools he already has to
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clean up the systemic failures of management in his administration. veterans who have survived war should no longer have to do battle with bureaucracy to access the best possible care. it's time to give our combat-impacted veterans the very best care that they have earned and deserve. the foundation of having other people serve depends on how well we take care of those that have. may god bless you. kimberly kagan of the institute for the study of war has the latest on the violence in iraq. we will take your calls and you can join the conversation at facebook and twitter. >> tomorrow, california becerra is xavier our guest.
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we will have that live tomorrow at 10:00 eastern on c-span. watch the program when it re-airs at 6:00 eastern. >> when i started covering congress you had people like senator russell long. howard baker. people who were giants in their own way. a couple got themselves into trouble. overall, these were people who knew -- they were all intelligent. he knew how to craft legislation. a new had to do a deal. there was politics, but at the end of the day they found a way to come together and make decisions for the good of the
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country. today, you don't see that anymore. in termsty of congress of intelligence and their work ethic has diminished. there are still great people. i should malign members. people are driven by the politics and by their own survival. the hardest work they do is raising money. it is not crafting deals. it is making speeches and positioning themselves to get reelected. myers is leaving washington, d.c. behind. find out why on q&a. >> coming up next, "the communicators." .ith michael powell
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after that, the head of customs and border protection talking about order patrol operations on the us-mexico border. the republican party convention in des moines. >> c-span, created by america's cable companies 35 years ago and brought to you as a public service. >> michael powell of the national cable and telecommunications association, welcome back to "the communicators." >> great to see you. >> before we start with the issues you are facing, i want to start with "the washington post" article from this weekend. i'm sure you saw. it was an internet survey report they did saying that well over half of people say they have abandoned their cable company if
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they could. because of service. what is your response? >> is that a question? the first thing i would say is, infrastructure companies are well aware of their long-standing challenges with the consumer. i think they have a duty and obligation to work hard to improve services. i think there is something somewhat challenging. digital services, software, the clouds, they are seamless, we are still a business that needs to come into your home. we still are a business that has to install hardware. we are still business that hardware has to function properly. virtually 24 hours a day or 310 hours a month, which is what the average consumer is doing. it is the first point of entry for a consumer. those problems things to be fixed.
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